Engaging Transylvania – “Untypical for a Transylvanian Lady? Gender and Nationalism in Modern Science”

Tuesday, March 28th at 1pm PT.

PD Dr. Borbala Zsuzsanna Török

This event will be held virtually.

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Engaging Transylvania – “Untypical for a Transylvanian Lady? Gender and Nationalism in Modern Science



Modern Transylvania, the “Eastern periphery of the Habsburg Empire” has been regarded as a locus classicus of entangled nationalisms. This talk engages with nationalism’s gendered face in the context of nineteenth’ century science and its legacies in the following ones. The starting point is the archaeological practices and vision of the Transylvanian scholar Zsófia Torma (1832-1897) and the reception of her work. Known today as a pioneer of the history of the Neolithic, the Hungarian baroness without formal education developed scientific visions of past civilizations with a political edge that went against the nationalizing grain of her time. In the second part, the talk reflects on the possibilities and limitations of female authorship and authority in East-Central European science, mediated by space, inter-imperial frameworks, social belonging and by gendered traditions of education, practices and language.



PD Dr. Borbala Zsuzsanna Török is director of the research project “Uses of civil justice and social policy in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1873 – 1914” supported by the Austrian Research Fund at the University of Vienna. Her research fields include the modern history of the Habsburg Monarchy, the entangled histories of East-Central European nationalisms and scholarship, the sciences of the state and statistics, and more recently the history of commons. Her monographs include “Exploring Transylvania. Geographies of Knowledge and Entangled Histories of a Multiethnic Province, 1790 – 1914 (Brill Publishers, Leiden, 2015)” and “Statistik as State Building in the Habsburg Monarchy, ca. 1790-1880 (Berghahn Books, forthcoming).”